"I live in constant fear of having made a wrong decision. Any one of the hundred that having a daughter forces you to make every day, and she does not know me but I have made some decisions in my life and it will be crazy but since there è Alba I discovered something about love for children: it is the sum of all possible joy and all bearable worry "
This text is taken from the book "Born for you" written by Luca Trapanese, a single dad, to tell the history of Alba, his adopted daughter born with Down syndrome. We dedicate today's space to them.
- Hi Luca, Alba was rejected by several couples before meeting you, you said that behind those nos there is the fear of disability. How did you manage to overcome these fears?
Then, I managed to go beyond these fears through the awareness that is to say I'll explain to you: my life has always been lived in the presence of disability since I was little, through very personal experiences, through disabled friends.
Disability has never scared me because life has educated me about disability and therefore I believe that the people who said no to Alba were frightened, ignorant people, that is, they really didn't know what Down syndrome is. case and were not prepared. Not only that, but they also felt perhaps scared of going through life with a disabled person. Because of this I believe that people need to be educated about disability.
- In a letter addressed to Alba's biological mother, you wrote: "every time she has to bring out the audacity to really be the father she deserves, I will be aware that in the race of courage I will arrive I don't know what place but certainly after you"
In this sentence my intention is to save Alba's mother, not as only Alba's mother but also as woman and mother. That is, I believe that the choice of a woman not to carry on her motherhood but to choose to go to the hospital to give birth and leave the child in the hospital is a choice of awareness of courage.
Not all of us were born for motherhood, not all of us were born for fatherhood, not all of us have the opportunity to be parents and Alba's mother in this case was courageous and had a great sense of motherhood and love towards Alba by giving her one chance.
A hundred, a thousand times better is Alba's mother than those women and men who, perhaps forced or perhaps dictated by ignorance and fear, make terrible gestures towards babies.
Instead I am convinced that Alba's mother loved her to the end: aware that it could not be her mother, she gave birth to her and left her in the hospital and gave me the opportunity to become her father. So I also thank you for this I will always be grateful to you and for this I believe that you are in first place from the point of view of courage, because your choice was more courageous than mine.
I don't think Alba's mother, but any woman who gives birth and goes to the hospital and then comes home without the baby does it lightly. Surely there is a moment of suffering, there is a moment of loneliness and the detachment is not easy and for this reason for me the Alba's mother was courageous and should be regarded as a hero.Read also: How to raise a disabled child
- Is there an object that reminds you of an exciting time with Alba? Or that in some way it symbolizes the beauty of being her father?
The object that reminds me of the most exciting moment is the bottle that I brought home from the hospital, that little bottle they give for feedings.
I came back from the hospital with a bag with six bottles full of milk that guaranteed me the first cycle of the first feeding, that is, from the morning when I took it to the morning of the next day. The nurses told me: we will give you all the current you need so you are covered in the first day and have time to buy everything.
Consider that I am not only a man but I had not given birth to Alba, therefore I was not prepared to welcome her and therefore this helped me to understand which milk to buy where to buy it and I kept my first bottle - which then or in a photo while I breastfeed her to the first time - because for me it is the meaning of having become a father in that moment and of having undertaken this new path of fatherhood, and it is the best memory. There are many, but this is the most significant one.
- How would you like your relationship with Alba to be in the future? What dad would you like to be for her?
I would like my relationship with Alba to focus on truth, about freedom in the sense that I hope to be a point of reference for Alba and to be able to listen to her needs and expectations, her desires. I think we parents must aim for that i our children are happy not that they are the first, so I will try to be an accomplice for Alba in choosing her potential, I will be close to her in all her choices and therefore I hope that I will be a point of reference for her, a friend and a person with whom to laugh, play and confide in. Let's hope.
- What amazed you the most about the impact your story has had on the media level?
The media interest not only at national level but also astonished me a lot about our history worldwide: Alba and I are present in all countries, from Canada to Australia to China, Japan, India, Russia, all of Europe. They talked about it everywhere and this is something that surprised me a lot.
I believe it depends on the fact not only that I am single and homosexual, but that Alba has Down syndrome and that she was left in the hospital and that nobody wanted her and I think this is a worldwide problem. In other words, disability is still seen as a problem in all countries today and causes a sensation when a disabled child is rejected and then there is obviously someone who welcomes him.
I think this is the thing that surprised me the most. At first I thought "okay I'll just come out in the newspapers one day, they'll forget", but I still receive articles on social media that come from anywhere in the world, in Latin America we are full of articles that are still out and about us .
- How did you experience the quarantine with Alba and how do you try to protect her in this delicate phase of the pandemic?
La quarantine was very nice for me because I completely gave up work and dedicated myself to living with Alba, so I tasted the beauty of waking up and not rushing to go to work, of living in the house with Alba walking around me and above all of savoring those moments take your time. For me it was a good moment that of the quarantine which then led me to make a series of choices also to change my working life.
At this stage I am trying to protect her, not sending her to school, seeing very few people, not inviting anyone home. Unfortunately it is a very sad phase because Alba is three years old and it was the perfect time to start school, to undertake relationships, to do a sporting activity. But, here, she is not sick, because Down syndrome is not a disease, but it is fragile and therefore the pediatrician advises to preserve it and so at this moment I preferred to preserve Alba's health by keeping her a little apart from the rest of things, then I hope that we will have time to recover.
- Who helps you in the daily management of Alba?
Luisa, who is there, helps me in managing Alba's daily life tata and she is a very sui generis person because she dyes her hair red, she is cheerful, she is a very dynamic person and in Alba she is very nice, so she helps me in managing Alba's life when I go to work.
Mine typical day it is a very normal day: before Covid I used to go out to work much more often and therefore I dedicated myself to all the projects we have in the social field, I would go home, let's say in the early afternoon. I have tried, since Alba arrived, to work a lot from home, to keep my work at home and not in the office and then in the afternoon I usually dedicate myself to Alba: a walk to see friends, to go for walks, to go from the uncles. It's a very normal life.
- What message would you like to give with your story?
Anyone who listens to my story in all possible ways - on social media, in newspapers, on television and interviews - understands that disability is not an invalidity of life and that is that having a disabled child does not mean being unhappy: I am very happy and not I would change Alba for anything in the world and if I had a magic wand I would not cure her of her syndrome, otherwise she would be another Alba, another person.
We have to accept things more as they are, trying to find our serenity and our balance. And above all, another message that I'd like to pass through our history is that there is no normality, that is, no one can arrogate the right to establish who and what is normal, but we are all different, perhaps we are all disabled and perhaps these our disabilities, these defects of ours are precisely those that characterize us and make us unique. So for me Alba is unique and unrepeatable.